Germany Sentences Two ex-Yugoslav Spies to Life in Prison for 1983 Dissident Murder

Croats Josip Perkovic, 71, and Zdravko Mustac, 74, top officials in the communist-era Yugoslav secret service, were found guilty of complicity in the murder of Stjepan Durekovic.

One of the defendants, Josip Perkovic, former member of the Yugoslav secret service awaits his trial in Munich on August 3, 2016.
Michaela Rehle, Reuters

REUTERS - A German court sentenced two former Yugoslav intelligence chiefs to life in prison on Wednesday for masterminding the murder of a Yugoslav dissident in the southern German state of Bavaria more than three decades ago.

Croats Josip Perkovic, 71, and Zdravko Mustac, 74, top officials in the communist-era Yugoslav secret service, were found guilty of complicity in the murder of Stjepan Durekovic, also a Croat, who was found dead of gunshot wounds and head injuries in a garage in the town of Wolfratshausen in 1983.

Croatia extradited the two men in 2014, under pressure from Germany.

Prosecutors alleged that Durekovic's murder was ordered by a leading Yugoslav politician. Durekovic's dissident activities had appeared to be the motive for his murder, but the politician actually wanted to prevent Durekovic from disclosing his son's illegal business dealings in the state-owned petrol company INA, according to the indictment.

Durekovic once ran the INA before leaving for the West.

Another man, the owner of the garage who had managed to win Durekovic's confidence, was sentenced to life imprisonment in Germany in 2008 for his part in the murder. At the time, the court established that 22 Croats were murdered in West Germany, at the behest of the Yugoslav leadership.